Hirakud Dam stands in the Sambalpur district across the Mahanadi River. Hirakud is not only the longest earthen dam in Odisha but also the biggest artificial lake in Asia. Hirakud Dam was built in the year 1957 and which has a storage capacity of 743 sq km and a shoreline of over 640 km.
The Hirakud dam in Odisha is 6 km from NH (National Highway) and 8 km from the Hirakud Railway Station. It is 61 m in height and 4801 m in length, stretching between the hills of Lamdungri in the left and the Chandili, Dunguri on the right. The dam has 21 km of dykes.
The construction of Hirakud Dam dates back to the period of devastating floods in the year 1937. The foundation of the dam was laid by Sir Howthrone Lewis, the governor of Odisha , on 15th of March, 1946. A project report was provided to the government in June 1947. Jawaharlal Nehru officially inaugurated Hirakud Dam in the year 1957. The project had started functioning at its full capacity from the year 1966.
This dam is elevated at 160 metres. Dams are huge constructed barriers that are made on water bodies. The purpose of making dams is to reserve water for various purposes. The flowing water of the river is of no use until it is being reserved. Hence dams restrict the water of the river from flowing and store it for multiple usages. The dams are constructed on rivers also to avoid flood like situations.
The beautiful Dam is built 15 km north to the Sambalpur district. The Hirakud Dam is a complex structure that has been built across the River Mahanadi. The purpose of making this massive Dam was to store water for irrigation purposes and also to avoid floods.
The Hirakud dam is more than a dam. It’s a matter of pride all together. After the Independence of India this was the first River valley project. It was a huge project. It is a landmark project that made the country proud. As a country that just got freedom, this project was a crowning project. It made India self-reliant.The free India as a country was still a child and such decisions made the country stronger.